Barbara Bush: A Mother for the Nation

Matthew Goins, Assistant Editor

On Tuesday evening, the United States lost a mother, a wife, and a leader in Barbara Bush. Mrs. Bush was the First Lady to President George H.W. Bush. They married each other in their early 20s, while President Bush was serving in the Navy in World War II. During his presidency, she was more than the wife of our President and the mother to the Bush children; she was the mother to the nation in the late 1980s. Her commitment and efforts as First Lady alluded to those of Eleanor Roosevelt who redefined the role of the First Lady.  Politically, Mrs. Bush advised her husband on many significant policy decisions and did the same for her son, George W. Barbara Bush is the second woman in United States history to have both a husband and son in the oval office, after Abigail Adams, who was the first. Her white hair and pearls could be spotted all across the nation where she was a potent public spokeswoman and an advocate for many issues such as literacy and women’s rights.  She was last in the public political eye with her son, Jeb, back in 2016. Since her role as First Lady, she has been very outspoken on a number of issues, many of which clashed with the views and platform of the Republican Party.

In her final years, Mrs. Bush had battled COPD while also having mild to severe run-ins with congestive heart failure. However, her health did not stop her from doing what she did best, as she continued to raise money for charities and speak publicly on the issues that mattered. GHS Social Studies teacher, Bill Conley, commented about Barbara Bush’s legacy of selflessness: “Mrs Bush was simple, yet elegant…She modeled to her sons a strong sense of morality a caring for other people…. From many comments from those who were around her, she had strong convictions…. She put others first, which I am sure, had an impact on some of her husband’s decisions.”

Barbara Bush will be distinctly remembered for her work with children’s literacy as a foundation for success. She believed that many of society”s deepest issues of poverty, crime, and drugs were all attested to the need for more literacy education opportunities. Mrs. Bush’s foundation started the literacy movement which was a catalyst for the change and promotion of parental involvement with their child’s literacy skills. GHS English teacher Leslie Kaczmarczyk believes that the legacy of Mrs. Bush will pertain to her work for literacy and success in our nation’s families and schools: “Barbara Bush’s commitment to literacy through her foundation proves to us all that reading really is the gateway to a better future. In terms of future success, there is nothing more important than ensuring that all children can read and write well, and Mrs. Bush worked and fought for this ideal.” Not only have condolences and love poured in from here at home, but many internationally are remembering the American Matriarch, including current Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau tweeting that Mrs. Bush was “always a friend to Canada.”

Funeral Services for Mrs. Bush will be held on Saturday at St. Martin’s Church in Houston with many political figures in attendance. First Lady Melania Trump plans to attend as well as former Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama along with former First Ladies Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama, who plan to be in attendance on Saturday to remember Mrs. Bush.